Thursday, April 30, 2015

Z is for...


I don't believe in astrology. I blame it on being a Leo.

However, my favorite manga draws its central conceit from the Chinese zodiac. (We're in the year of the Sheep, by the way, may the fleece be with you)

Fruits Basket.

The story of how an exceptionally ordinary girl helps the most dysfunctional family in the world stop turning into animals. It's about love, forgiveness, acceptance, and onigiri.

Patterns I love that start with Z:

Zeb the Zebra
Zip Off Color Block Yoke Sweater
Zelda Cloche

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Y is for...

Yarn Along.

It's a rare thing for me to actually get a Yarn Along entry out on the actual Yarn Along day, but I have Wednesday off for a change, and it feels like kismet that it's Y day as well. It may also be cheating.

Ginny of the blog "Small Things" hosts a Yarn Along every Wednesday for like-minded bloggers to show off what they're making and what they're reading. It's a great way to find new blogs, pattern and yarn inspiration, and things to add to your Goodreads want-to-read shelf.

Pence Jug, as interpreted by Franklin Habit from a vintage pattern by Frances Lambert, in Lana Cervina, Plum Jacquard Forever.

I've been voraciously reading No Idle Hands: the Social History of American Knitting. It's a bit like a Ken Burns documentary, heavily relying on letters, diaries, and anecdotes. I've already found a dozen ideas for a YA historical fiction novel, though I bought the ebook originally to see if it had any useful notes on Victorian era and pioneer knitting for my new blog, Ma's Needles, in which I will be knitting and crafting my way through the Little House books. Because I have so much free time.

Patterns I love that start with Y:

Yub Nub Scoodie - celebrate your inner ewok (free!)
Yarn Basket ornament  (free!)
Yggdrasil Afghan (free!)

X is for...


Do you know anyone who gets worked up about the abbreviation Xmas? Their fears are unfounded. Its use isn't an attempt to take Christ out of Christmas, it's more like when my mom writes bday on the calendar. In Greek, Jehovah starts with an I, and Christ starts with an X.


Personally, I'm not even a fan of bday, but sometimes needs must.

Xmas-y patterns I love:

Bitty Beady Christmas Tree
Holiday Mice (free!)
Good Grief! - an iconic little tree
Julevotter Adventscalendar - advent calendar of tiny numbered mittens (free!)
The Nativity Collection - no one does knit amigurumi like Alan Dart
Stjärna - star-shaped ornament with nifty construction (free!)
Praying Angel Ornaments - crochet (free!)

My Christmas board on Pinterest has a few yarn-unrelated ideas as well

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

W is for . . .

Weekly Dishcloth.

Well, really, what were you expecting?

Week 16 (or something like that)

King Charles, by Marjorie Dussaud
Lily Sugarn' Cream, Red

I feel like this pattern could have benefited from a chart.  It's a 12-row repeat, and I didn't find it at all intuitive.  There was a lot of ripping back as I lost my place in the written directions.

Those keeping track will note that this is technically last week's dishcloth, as I missed one two weeks ago.  I'm absurdly optimistic about getting another dishcloth out this week, despite being unable to decide on a color scheme.

Patterns I love that start with W:

Watermelon Purse (free!)
Welcome to the Flock - baby sweater with wee sheep around the yoke
Weeping Angel Statue - before I knew what a Weeping Angel was I thought this would be a nice memorial ornament for Gabriel.  I still might go that route  (pattern is free!)
Westering Home - beautiful cabled jacket
Winter Twilight Mitts (free when you sign up for the Knitting Daily newsletter)
Well-Dressed Bunny
Wingspan - insanely popular shawlette

Monday, April 27, 2015

V is for...

Vehicular knitting.

Don't knit and drive
More and more I'm appreciating the value of keeping a knitting project in my car. Just in the last week I've gotten a lot done while waiting for the line to move in a drive-through, waiting for the pilot car at a stretch of road construction, and while waiting for my husband to bring me a jug of coolant when my car overheated just outside of town. I wished my friend had some knitting in her car while we were stuck in the parking lot for an hour at work waiting for the all-clear from the fire department, but she isn't a knitter (yet). If our purses weren't locked in the building with the gas leak, we might have gone to the lys and I could have remedied that pretty quickly, but then, if I would have had my purse I would have had some knitting.

Of course, if I'm not the driver, I can get prodigious amounts of knitting done in the car, so I almost always bring two projects if my husband is driving, just in case I finish the first one, as I did this weekend when we were driving all over creation to celebrate two birthdays on opposite sides of the family. Of course, I forgot to bring scissors or a darning needle, so I still haven't officially finished the first project, but the knitting at least is done, so it will be my W post today or tomorrow.

Patterns I love that start with V:

Vauvan Sukka - textured baby socks (free!)
Verde - reusable shopping bag (free!)
Viburnum - lacy moebius cowl (free!)
Viceroy Butterfly Shawl - crochet
Victorian Lace Scarf
Vintage Hankie Washcloth - knit washcloth with lacy crocheted edging (free!)
Violet Beauregard - crochet skirt
Vivian - stunning cabled jacket with hood

Saturday, April 25, 2015

U is for...

Undeniably ubiquitous UFOs.

Knitting UFOs.

I have knitting ADD, unable to resist the siren call of something new before I finish what I'm already working on. I may go back and forth between the new and the old for a while, but eventually the old project is relegated to the UnFinished Object bin. I return to these neglected projects in time, but they are becoming legion.

Here are a few:

This will be a Marigold slouch hat when it grows up, but it just couldn't compete with twined mittens and dishcloths.

My Faberge kerchief got off to a roaring start, but stalled when I joined a few swaps last summer.

This was going to be my new purse two years ago. I suppose technically whenever I get around to finishing it I will have a new purse...

And I don't even know why I ever start blankets

Friday, April 24, 2015

T is for..

Time Warp.

Wherein I blog about something I missed the first time around, or finished before the blog existed. Such entries are usually made on Tuesday, but whatever, I need to catch up.

I always have such grand plans to make stuff for my dolls, but it's frustratingly rare that I ever do. I was stuck home sick one day, though, and the AG group on Ravelry was having a contest, so I whipped out my crochet hook and actually made something!

The pattern is called Off to Bath, and it's to match a girl-sized capelet of the same name. Both are from "Austentatious Crochet".

The shells are made up of elongated double crochet stitches that are a bit of a nuisance, but it's just three rows and then the collar and ties and you're done. I used Red Heart Soft, which is a decent acrylic, more substantial than Caron Simply Soft.

There isn't much to the piece, but I like how it goes with the red velvet dress.

Patterns I love that start with T:

TARDIS Tissue Box Cover (free!)
Tea Time Colonial Dress for American Girl - speaking of doll clothes...
The Teddy Bear that Saved Me - the designer knit these to sell while he was homeless
Theodóra - Icelandic doll knit from Icelandic yarn
Through the Woods... - cabled neckwarmer with hood
Travelling Gnome (free!)
Tudor Rose - ruffled, beaded cuffs
Twinkle Twinkle Baby Blanket

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

S is for...

Steampunk shawlette, star-shaped stitch markers, and Silver Skates.

I just finished reading the unabridged "Hans Brinker" for the first time, though I've read the pictured Great Illustrated Classic copy many times since my grandmother sent it to me when I was nine, and I have to say . . . I almost prefer the abridged version. It captures the essence of the story and the setting very succinctly by dropping most of the purple prose and cutting long chapters worth of material that, while educational and interesting, almost derails the plot. Imagine if the Hogsmeade visit in The Prisoner of Azkaban consisted of several chapters of the Weasley twins, Cedric Diggory, Neville Longbottom, and Draco Malfoy visiting museums and discussing the culture and history of the Wizarding world. I grant you, that would be amazing, but I think JRR Tolkien did it better by putting that kind of thing in the appendices. On the other hand, if I hadn't read the abridged version first, would the detour into the art, architecture, and history of the Netherlands have been as distracting?

Brass Needles has been doing monthly knit-alongs this year on the Ravelry board, and I absurdly optimistically cast on the Age of Brass and Steam for April's Steampunk Shawlette theme. I'm not going to finish by the end of the month, obviously.

The yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, one of the victims of the month (carpet beetle?) attack, so there will be many slippery ends to weave in.

The origami lucky star stitch markers are from TheSexyKnitter.

Patterns I love that start with S:

Sally the Eco Fairy - simple knitted doll that would be easy to modify to look like anyone (free!)
Saxon the City - cabled thigh-high stockings
Slipstream - cabled normal length socks (free!)
Southern Skies - circular shawl that uses beads and eyelets to create an accurate star map of the constellations as seen from the Southern hemisphere
Sourwood Mountain - leaf-motif fingerless gloves (free!)
Sylvi - gorgeous cabled coat
Susie Rogers Reading Mitts - (free!)

R is for...

Read to me.

They tell me reading to your kids helps them develop reading and language skills. They also say it's important for your kids to see you reading.

E-readers count, right?
I grew up in a house full of books, watching my dad read in every free moment. My mom isn't as voracious a reader as he, but she too loves books, especially biographies and of course the Bible. She read to us often and loved taking us to the library. She also taught us to look for words everywhere, on signs and the sides of vehicles and the backs of cereal boxes.  I'm trying to do the same with Silas, and even Ezra looks very intently at the pictures while I'm reading to Silas.  I would show you a picture of this, but there's no good way to juggle a camera along with a three year old and a nearly five month old and a book.

Ezra devouring a good book

I still like to be read to, as my love of literary podcasts and audiobooks will attest.  I hope my kids will let me read to them for a long, long time.

Books that Silas loves for me to read to him:

This Train
The Little Red Caboose
Go, Dog, Go!
What Do You Say when a Monkey Acts this Way?
The Foot Book

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Q is for...


As in, I secretly want to quit making dishcloths. I am ready to banish from my sight all cotton yarn. I fantasize about hiding the dip (dishcloths in progress) under my bed and committing to a wild spree of mittens.

I've had a bad week on the kitchen cotton front. I didn't come close to finishing last week's dishcloth (and any dishcloth that starts with "Cast on 239 stitches" is bound to be a pill), and my standby dishcloth with its blasted fair-isle chart was no comfort, so I cast on this week's dishcloth early, but the single tapestry crochet was nearly as much of a frustrating time-suck, and thus I still didn't get a dishcloth out in time.

It really makes me want to throw the towel in.

At the same time, I find that I don't want to quit. I don't want to be a quitter. I want to be able to keep to this one dumb goal that I have made for myself this year.

Among other qualities, I have a stubborn streak a mile long.

Week ?

Aztec Dishcloth by Kalurah Hudson
Peaches & Creme, Ecru; Sugar'n Cream, Red

I hate, hate, hate single crochet.  Tapestry crochet, however, is a beautiful thing.  I love the way the unused colors just travel along, neatly hidden under the stitches as you go.  Half-double crochet may be the way to go in future for the best of both worlds.  I left off the extra color bars at the top and bottom because I didn't want a giant rectangular dishcloth.

Patterns I love that start with Q:

Quercus - tweedy mittens with a cabled wristband
Queen Anne's Lace scarf - crochet (free!)
Quant - entrelac headband/earwarmer (free!)
Quinn Cabled Bag (free!)
Quilted Lattice Ascot

Sunday, April 19, 2015

M is for . . .

May Mitered Mittens in Modewerk.

May is the month that patron saint of knitters Elizabeth Zimmermann recommends for making mittens in her Knitter's Almanac, so that you don't have to scramble when the weather turns cold. I'm starting mine in April, because I have the yarn and I needed a letter M project. Of course, M would fall on a day that I had to work until 11, so here I am on Sunday trying to catch up.

I won the yellow yarn in a giveaway at the Modeknit blog. It's Modewerk Worsted in Braziliantine. I was expecting the yarn to be more golden with some orange tones, but we all know how accurate colors are on a computer screen. In person it's a soft buttery yellow. I was a little disappointed at first, but now I really like how it pairs with my deep-stash Light Coral Knit Picks Swish. If there's enough of each leftover I want to use it to make the Anthropologie Inspired Bohemian Slouch hat, along with some more deep-stash plum colored wool and maybe a charcoal accent.

The mittens are shaped by miters, paired increases and decreases that shape the knitting to a point. I started with an i-cord cast-on and I'll be trying my first afterthought thumb. I'm working at a relatively loose gauge (needs of the moment), so I may have to line them.

Mitten patterns that I love:

Basic Children's Mittens (free!)
Dulaan Easy-on Mittens (free!)
Blooming Lattice
Freja (free!)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

P is for...


I have a fair trek to work, I knit, and I like to have something to listen to while I'm cooking or cleaning, so podcasts fit into my daily routines and help keep my sanity. I like audio books and music for the same purposes, but until I finally break down and sign up for an Audible membership, podcasts are more readily available (and free!).

I've raved about Craftlit here many a time, because it's awesome. Heather Ordover is a former English teacher/professor who figured out that people whose hands are busy knitting or quilting or otherwise crafting could really use someone to read to them. To keep it free, it's exclusively public domain audio of classic literature, which is my jam, yo. Right now she's hooking us up with Sense and Sensibility, and along the way she helps explain a little historical context, definitions of obscure words and practices, and a bit about the author, and a bit of modern context as references show up in pop culture.

I also listen to Forgotten Classics, which focuses on books that you probably haven't heard of, either from authors who have slipped out of the limelight, or less familiar titles by familiar authors. She mixes the public domain stories with small samples of copyrighted material, so there's a huge variety, from Victorian adventure novels to nonfiction travel memoirs and even a recent translation of the book of Genesis. Most recently she read a few chapters of "One Hundred and One Dalmatians," which you may not have known was a charming children's book before Disney discovered it and made a charming movie.

On the less lit, more knit side, I listen to:

The Knitmore Girls, a mother and daughter who talk about knitting, spinning, yarn, patterns, books, fiber events, and occasionally Shakespeare.

Brass Needles, which divides its episodes between discussion of knitting and spinning and discussion of sci-fi and Steampunk culture, tropes, and media.

Cast On, the original knitting podcast, featuring essays, music, advice, reviews, and a bit of snark from Brenda Dayne.

Patterns from my favorite podcasters:

Taming of the Shrug and Hexaflexagon by Heather Ordover
Mrs. Beeton and Now in a Minute by Brenda Dayne (both free!)
The Knitmore Girls Vanilla Sock by Jasmin Canty (free!)
Steampunk Arm Warmers by Erin Kalendar

Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for...


If there were a D in my name, it would be for Disorganized. As it is, my acrostic looks like this:

In over my head
Heaps of laundry
Every dish we own is in the sink
Losing my keys in a purse full of receipts, tissues, and pens
Losing my mind
Eh, I'll clean tomorrow

One corner where I've managed to get my stuff sorted is my closet, because it was necessary in order to get ready for Ezra. All of my yarn is organized into bins, milk crates, and a set of plastic drawers in there. All of my straight needles are in a holder my in-laws got me years ago, all of my DPNs are in a purple tin pencil box, my crochet hooks are in empty mini M&M's tubes, and my circular needles are in a Ziploc until I come up with a less tangled way to manage them. I keep my small notions in Altoid tins.

Someday, I'd like to have a cozy little room just for knitting, sewing, and crafting, but for now things are working out in my closet.

How do you organize your hobby equipment?

Patterns I love that start with O:

Oink - flying piggy (free!)
Onodrim - fingerless gloves with a lace and cable leaf-motif
Old Shale Shawl - (free!)
Owlings - I never jumped on the owl-motif or Fetching bandwagon, but together...
Olivia's Butterfly - child-sized crochet cloche, easy to size up or down (free!)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for . . .

Nothing much to say, so let's skip straight to the links!

Nennir - you know I love all things Celtic, and I am coming around on cowls. The only thing holding me back from making this elaborately cabled beauty is my search for the perfect green yarn (the pattern is free!)

Newborn Guinea Pigs - a whimsical bit of crochet that would take very little time or yarn. (Free!)

Not-so-tiny Slippers - a scaled-up version of a baby slippers pattern. I am obsessed with collecting Mary Jane style slipper patterns (and shoes, for that matter)

Norma - a stunning afghan with lace and cables and the center-out construction that I prefer. I love the bold red-orange color of the model project, and if I ever have a little yarn money to spend I will make this in Dream in Color Classy. (Free pattern!)

You don't think of N as being a tricky letter, but oddly enough...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for . . .


Besides being my BFF's favorite color, the first name of a character in Harry Potter, and in Anne of Avonlea, and a wonderful thing to do to Earl Grey tea, lavender has a reputation of repelling moths.

I may have a moth problem. I may have a carpet beetle problem. Whichever, I keep finding skeins of yarn in my stash with broken plies and strands, which is incredibly irritating and disheartening. So I am vacuuming out my closet, bagging all my yarn (hooray for Ziploc!), and booby-trapping the bins with lavender oil-infused soap until I can get some sachets made. I plan to use this pattern from Purl Soho.

Silas is very in favor of this lavender business. He keeps following me into the closet and asking to smell the bars of soap. I oblige him, because it's cute and lavender is supposed to be soothing, and I am in favor of calming my energetic and occasionally high-strung toddler down from time to time.

 I also really like the idea of having lavender-scented yarn for soothing myself during stressful knitting sessions, either when I'm using knitting to try to de-stress or when the knitting is causing me stress.

Patterns I love that start with L:

Lace Leaf Pullover
Laura Star - beautiful vintage doily chart (free!)
Limberlost - fingerless mitts
Lingerie - lace-patterned socks (free!)
Little Spare Time - boys' sweater, definitely plan to make this for Silas soon
Luna Lovegood Scarf (free!)

Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for . . .

Keeping up with the Cardassians

It's no big secret that I am a huge geek. It's right there in the title of the blog, for one thing, though I think a lot of people miss that it's a Disney reference.

We played the Throne Room and Finale theme from A New Hope as the recessional at our wedding. I can't imagine what his side of the family thought, but my family may have applauded. It was my one quirky moment in an otherwise very simple, classic wedding. My mom told me later that she was about to break down, and then, "The Star Wars music started, I started laughing and I knew you were going to be okay."

As young as I was when my parents rented Star Wars for my brother and I for the first time (probably six or seven, and they billed it as a movie with cute robots), I have even earlier memories of my dad watching Star Trek, and it's definitely had an impact on my hobbies.

I've always liked Kirk's green shirt best
And since Netflix has all of the series available for streaming, my kids are going to have early memories of me watching it, as well.

Right now I am keeping up with the Cardassians, as I'm working my way through Deep Space Nine (the one with the black Captain, as my non-Trekkie husband knows it). The series starts with Commander Benjamin Sisko being given command of a space station recently abandoned by the Cardassians, who had been occupying the planet Bajor and enslaving its people. The Bajorans, a deeply religious people, managed to overthrow their oppressors and reached out to the Federation to help protect them from a possible return. The Federation has been at war with the Cardassians, and has only recently come to an uneasy truce. Sisko is tasked with keeping the peace, furthering negotiations to bring Bajor into the Federation, and playing gatekeeper to the nearby wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant, which has opened a passage to an area of space that otherwise would have taken seventy years to reach. Matters are complicated by the fact that the Bajorans believe that the wormhole is the Celestial Temple where their deities, the Prophets, reside, and that Sisko is the long awaited Emissary. He isn't the Bajorans first choice for the role, and he isn't pleased about it himself, but the beings who built and live in the wormhole, divine or otherwise, exist outside of time and have chosen Sisko, like it or not, because they've seen that he will affect the fate of Bajor and pretty much half of the galaxy by extension.

The series has its ups and downs and takes a little while to really get into its stride, but once it does it turns into a really fascinating study of politics, race, religion, destiny, and morality. The characters, good and evil, all develop and grow, and overall I think it's one of the most interesting and well-plotted Star Trek series, and it really explores a side of the Star Trek universe that you don't get to see in the other series, a darker and more complex side.

So when that other show came out I latched onto the obvious pun and nothing else.


Patterns I love that start with K:
Kathy Kelly Cabled Capelet (free!)
Kensington Mitts
Knotty but Nice hat - Men's cabled beanie (free!)
Kicking Horse Mittens
Knucks - embroidered fingerless mitts (free!)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I is for...

Inability to blog on time.

While I actually finished last week's dishcloth in time (barely) to call it last week's dishcloth, I once again found myself with neither time nor energy to blog about it, to say nothing of getting out Friday's letter of the day.

Week whatever, I've lost count:

Bicolor Tweed, by Marjorie Dussaud
Sugar'n Cream, Yellow; Peaches & Creme, Bright Pink

For once, my many false starts were not due to my Inability to read directions, but instead due to an error in the pattern and my Inability to do simple math. The pattern claims that you should start with 47 sts. After that didn't work, and many failed attempts at other numbers, I got it to work over 37. Apparently 41 works, too.

The colorwork is done via slip stitch, which is blessedly easy and makes for a neat texture that feels almost woven.

Patterns I love that start with I:

Ice Queen - a beaded lace stood (free!)
Inuk and Baby Seal - absurdly adorable arctic ornaments (free!)
Iona Mittens 
Irish Hiking Scarf (free!)
Itty Bitty Lightsaber

Saturday, April 11, 2015

J is for...


Not juggling chainsaws, mind you, but juggling responsibilities. Juggling two small children, a full time job, and still trying to find time to knit, blog, and occasionally shower or do dishes.

Finding time to knit is particularly challenging, because I need two free hands. I used to get a fair amount done at work on my breaks, but now that time is fully devoted to pumping milk to keep my supply up and provide the milk that Ezra eats at daycare or when Ryan is home with him. That's a juggling act in itself.

So when does a full time mom find time to knit?

On my days off I can get some knitting done between chores while the boys are napping.

In the evening, once the boys are down (Silas for the night, Ezra until the next feeding), I knit while Ryan and I watch something or other on Netflix, or if Ryan is playing a game, I plug into my iPod and listen to podcasts while I knit.

I bring my knitting on car trips when my husband is doing the driving. As long as I don't have to study a chart, I usually don't get carsick. I always keep a sock in a baggie in my purse, too. I can crank out a few stitches or even rows when I am sitting at a train crossing, a drive-through line at the bank, or any other unexpected long waits.

 Recently I went to a program at our library about aprons (more interesting than you would think). Afterwards I ran into a friend and fellow knitter, and while we were chatting she mentioned that she was sure I wasn't knitting anymore. I said nothing but just held up the bag with the mitten I had been working on while I listened to watched the presenters. There's always a little time to knit, you just have to learn to juggle.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

H is for . . .


In spite of all my dishcloth output this year, the item that comes off my needles the most frequently is a hat.  Hats have many advantages - they are small, portable, there's only one of them (no second sock syndrome), there are usually only two ends to weave in (only one if you work that first end in as you go), there's only about six to eight inches of slog before you start rapidly decreasing and poof, you have a hat.  Hats can be made flat when you're a beginner, but I highly recommend learning to knit in the round as soon as possible because ZOOM! You weave in that last end and you are done, no seaming!

If you crochet it, you can have a hat in a couple hours,
great when you need a last minute costume
Baby hats are extremely satisfying to knit.  Unless you're intentionally making preemie hats, my advice is to aim big; babies grow quickly, and wrestling a slightly too small hat onto a head with a wobbly neck is not especially fun.  Either way, baby hats take very little time, are adorable, and can be donated to great causes.

A month's work worth of baby hats
You may have heard of the Boyfriend Sweater Curse, but it doesn't apply to hats as far as I know.  However, a boyfriend may lose a hat you made for him, which is frustrating when you haven't had a chance to take a picture of it yet.

I married him anyway
Hats rarely require more than one skein of yarn, so they're a great place to use a special skein of expensive yarn, or to stash-bust that skein of yarn that you have no idea where it came from, what it is, or where to get more.

Truth be told I don't even know where this hat is anymore
Hat patterns that I love:

Bloody Stupid Johnson - a Discworld tribute (free!)
Anthropologie-inspired Bohemian slouch hat
Twizzler - crochet (free!)
Rue du Collège
Star-crossed Slouchy Beret (free!)
Guernsey Potato Peel hat - great fair-isle (free!)
Koolhaas - epic travelling cables

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for...

Guilty Pleasure

A guilty pleasure is something you enjoy in spite of itself. You know it's not good for you, or cool, or high quality, but you keep coming back to it. Be it funnel cake, Lady Gaga, or "Twilight," it does nothing beneficial for you except make you smile.

Conversely, it might be something you really can't afford, but you treat yourself to now and then, but I'm really thinking of the embarrassing little secret loves right now.

Netflix is an enabler. I have two big guilty pleasures on Netflix right now, "Murder She Wrote," and "Reign." The latter in particular is like Pixie Stix for me; no nutritional value whatsoever, but strangely addictive. It's eye candy, it's historically inaccurate, it's engrossing, it's a teen soap opera, it's insane, and I just love it.

Reign likes to pretend that it's about Mary, Queen of Scots.

It's really about WB teen drama . . . In the PAST!!!

I can only knit garter stitch when I am watching it, because I can't tear my eyes from the screen for the majority of any episode. The costumes range from Renaissance adjacent to questionable prom dresses to whaaat???? but they're almost always pretty, and I like pretty.

I appreciate that the language, though not appropriately Shakespearean, is at least formal and not Buffy-speak.

I feel like my taste should be better than this, but that's the guilty part, after all. The most delightful aspect of this show? Evil Anne of Green Gables...

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

F is for...


The covering thereof

I have never been a fan of feet (except for on wee bairns), nor socks (I outright refused to touch them as a child when my mother was teaching me how to fold laundry), so the fact that I was compelled when a new knitter to try knitting socks for the sheer experience of it is something of a tribute to their fascination.

Two things in particular - modern knitters complaining that they were difficult, and historical knitters making them all the time. If there's anything I like, it's a challenge and making something authentic from scratch.

Of course, authentic was stretched a bit for my first few pairs, not having any access to sockweight yarn, but the My Basic Sock pattern taught me the rudiments of sock construction, and worsted weight yarn, even with minimal wool content makes a quite warm sock for the days when you have to be out shoveling snow. Most importantly, I learned that making socks isn't hard at all if you have clear directions. I made my second pair in just over a week.

I had a deadline, I wanted to make St. Patrick's Day socks for my brother, being undeterred by his size 12 feet. Thuja is another good, clear pattern for a beginner. I finished the second sock in two days. Second sock syndrome didn't hit until the odyssey of the never ending kilt hose.

Ten years later, still no farther than this.

Then there were mini socks.


Swap fodder, mainly. Swaps are also good motivation to finish actual pairs of socks.

Lace socks go quickly.

Slippers are a fun change of pace.

And always, go big or go home:

Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for . . .


Where did four months go? 

I have been shockingly negligent about knitting for him, but as he has all of Silas' handmedowns it hasn't been a priority.

Of course, I knitted him a stocking.

And a hat.

But that's as far as I have managed to this point. It's tricky to knit for your own babies, because they are often in need of your undivided attention, and working on projects here and there when you have a spare moment doesn't work well when they grow faster than you can knit. 

Patterns I plan to make for Ezra (if I ever have the time):

Gansey Booties  (free!)
Pembroke Vest (free!)
Nursing Necklace - crochet (free!)